Lifestyle & Belief

Manti Te'o doubles down with ESPN in interview


Manti Te'o has doubled down on his claim that he had nothing to do with the hoax that was recently exposed by sports blog Deadspin. In an interview with ESPN recently, he said he truly believed that his online girlfriend was real.


Streeter Lecka

Manti Te'o has doubled down on his story that he was not behind an elaborate hoax that provided him with an online girlfriend.

In an off-camera interview with ESPN, Te'o denied claims that he made up the story of the girlfriend to increase his chances of winning the Heisman Trophy.

"I wasn't faking it," Te'o said, reported Reuters.

"I wasn't part of this."

During the interview, he said he tried to video chat with the woman several times but she never showed up on camera.

"I even knew that it was crazy that I was with somebody that I didn't meet," Te'o said, reported Reuters.

It was Te'o's first interview since the sport blog Deadspin reported that his supposed late girlfriend, Lennay Kekua was, in fact, not an actual person.

More from GlobalPost: Manti Te'o, linebacker at Notre Dame, says he's victim of a hoax "girlfriend"

The blog reported that Te'o's friend Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was behind the hoax.

"I don't wish an ill thing to somebody," Te'o said, according to ESPN.

"I just hope he learns. I think embarrassment is big enough."

Critics have also turned their attention to the media coverage of the story of Te'o and his girlfriend who was supposedly stricken with leukemia and injured in a car accident.

The Nation reported that Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated, who wrote a piece about the couple, saw several red flags during his reporting but chose to ignore them.